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Allerdale and Copeland leaders happy so far PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Walsh   
Tuesday, 23 February 2021

johnson and starkie.pngLocal Council leaders in west Cumnbria have welcomed the news from the government that they are to press ahead with a consultation on reorganisation of local government in Cumbria.



Allerdale Borough Council and Copeland Borough Council jointly submitted a proposal to the government in December 2020.

 

The government has this week announced it will begin a major consultation the details of this, and three other proposals. The details of the consultation can be found at: https://consult.communities.gov.uk/governance-reform-and-democracy/cumbria/.  

 

Mike Johnson, deputy leader at Allerdale Borough Council, said: “The announcement is fabulous news for Cumbria as it signals the start of real progress for the county on how local government could be run in the future.

 

I’m also pleased to see that the government is including the proposals we put forward with colleagues from Copeland Borough Council in the consultation. We obviously made a compelling case to government. So I’m pleased to have that opportunity to now put this case forward to the people of Allerdale and the rest of Cumbria. 

  

“Local government reorganisation will deliver better services for our residents, better value for money and create jobs post COVID through a new approach to economic development and inward investment.

“We believe that our model will best meet the challenges local government and our communities will face in the future. This view is echoed by many people in our community and local political and business leaders alike. It will create organisations that are large enough to drive our ambition for growth and excellent service delivery, as well as maintain close links with the people we serve. 

 

"The approach taken by Allerdale and Copeland will also ensure that our are most vulnerable residents are better supported to improve their lives, that businesses get the support to expand and create jobs and that local communities will keep their identity and have influence on what happens in their areas. 

 

“For too long residents have had to negotiate a complex system where different councils provide different services - our two unitary option will provide clarity for residents, be delivered at a lower cost, and get access to funding and investment Cumbria doesn’t have access to.

 

"This is very much a time for the debate to begin and I urge people to respond to the consultation and choose the east/west option as this is the best for residents, the best for business and provide the best future of our children.”

 

Also welcoming the news, Mike Starkie, Copeland Mayor, said: “We welcome the Government’s launch of a public consultation into local government reorganisation in Cumbria, and the inclusion of the joint submission by Copeland Borough Council and Allerdale Borough Council as one of the four options being considered.

 

“We have made a compelling case for change with the two-unitary model we propose; with Copeland, Allerdale and Carlisle forming a West authority, and Eden, South Lakeland and Barrow forming an East authority.
 

“It would create organisations that are large enough to drive our ambitions for growth and excellent service delivery, while maintaining local identity and close links to our local communities.
 

“It is crucial that Copeland and Allerdale remain part of the same authority in any future model. Our local population, and our community and industry leaders, are equally unequivocal in this regard, and our proposal reflects that.
 

“The Government is actively driving its devolution agenda, and the right platform and structure needs to be created in Cumbria to allow the area to prosper, unlock growth, and to facilitate the levelling up agenda in the near future.
 

“We believe our model is the option that will deliver the future we deserve, and we encourage our community to respond to this important consultation to make your voices heard.”
 

Details of the proposal put forward by Allerdale and Copeland councils can be found on their respective websites at: https://www.allerdale.gov.uk/en/council-and-democracy/local-government-reorganisation/ and https://www.copeland.gov.uk/local-government-reorganisation-information.

Yesterday, the government announced an eight-week consultation into local government reorganisation in Cumbria. They will now consult on all four unitary authority proposals put forward by Cumbrian councils in December.

The options are:

· Two unitary authorities – one for West Cumbria (made up of Copeland, Allerdale and Carlisle) and one for East Cumbria (made of Eden, Barrow and South Lakeland). This proposal was submitted by Copeland Borough Council and Allerdale Borough Council.

· Two unitary authorities – one for North Cumbria (made up of Carlisle, Eden and Allerdale) and one for South Cumbria (made up of Copeland, Barrow and South Lakeland). This proposal was submitted by Carlisle City Council and Eden District Council.

· The ‘Bay’ model of two unitary authorities – one for the Bay area (made up of Barrow, South Lakeland and Lancaster) and one for North Cumbria (made up of Copeland, Allerdale, Carlisle and Eden). This proposal was submitted by Barrow Borough Council and South Lakeland District Council.  

Mark Jenkinson, the MP for Workington suggested: “I, and other Cumbrian leaders, believe that two unitary authorities will provide better local governance than one, while still delivering savings for Cumbrian taxpayers. 

“By having fewer councils, fewer councillors, fewer managers and less bureaucracy - the money that would have been wasted can now be directed to improving services for everyone. 

“Cumbria has suffered from a lack of leadership at a county level, and the creation of two unitary authorities would allow for the election of a mayor for Cumbria, paving the way for a lucrative devolution deal and the devolution of powers from Westminster.

“If we chose instead to go down the route of one authority for the whole of Cumbria, it would be too big, too cumbersome, it would be detached from our communities and would not allow a mayor the freedom to deal with the strategic leadership that Cumbria is missing.

“For Cumbria to compete with larger authorities - to be a big player on the national stage - and to ensure that we make the most of the new powers and funding available to us, the only credible option is for two unitary authorities - closely followed by an elected mayor.”

From a personal point of view I like the Barrow/South Lakeland version with a virtual return to the old Cumberland set-up before the creation of Cumbria in the early 1970’s. The nearer we can get back to that the better as far as I'm concerned. 

Barrow has always seemed a better fit in for any North Lancashire region, and a Bay grouping seems ideal.

In time it would be nice to see Cumberland re-created -but that won’t happen in this present shake-up – but it’s a step in the right direction.




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